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Spirit puts 6-year-old on wrong flight; grandmother says airline's statement misleading

Spirit is being criticized for putting a 6-year-old boy on the wrong flight last week. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Spirit is being criticized for putting a 6-year-old boy on the wrong flight last week. File Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 26 (UPI) -- A Florida grandmother accused an airline carrier of lying and providing no answers to how her 6-year-old grandson traveling alone ended up on the wrong flights hundreds of miles from where he was supposed to go.

Maria Ramos said that she is livid with Spirit Airlines for placing her son on the wrong flight on Dec. 21, even after paying extra fees to prevent that from happening, and then issuing what she said was an inaccurate statement about what happened.

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Her grandson Casper was traveling from Philadelphia to Fort Myers, Fla., last week, only to wind up in Orlando. When Ramos showed up at the Southwest Florida International Airport to pick him up, she said airline officials told her initially that he missed the flight.

Ramos, who was coordinating the trip and hand-off with her daughter in Philadelphia, said that was impossible because she had his checked bag information.

During the ensuing chaos where Ramos franticly quizzed Spirit employees for answers, Casper called Ramos using the iPhone FaceTime app, telling her he had landed and where he could find her. Ramos instructed him to ask a uniform attendant where he was, and that's when he learned he was in Orlando.

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"I wanted to die, I said, 'What do you mean he's in Orlando airport?'" Ramos said.

Ramos said the family had the trip all planned out, including paying an extra $150, where Casper was identified as an unaccompanied young traveler so he could be guided.

She said Spirit offered to have a driver transport Casper to Fort Myers from Orlando but, declined, noting the three-and-a-half-hour trip.

"I want them to call me," Ramos said. "Let me know how my grandson ended up in Orlando. How did that happen? Did they get him off the plane? The flight attendant -- after mom handed him with paperwork -- did she let him go by himself? He jumped in the wrong plane by himself?"

Spirit issued a media statement, that read: "On Dec. 21, an unaccompanied child traveling from Philadelphia to Fort Myers was incorrectly boarded on a flight to Orlando. The child was always under the care and supervision of a Spirit team member, and as soon as we discovered the error, we took immediate steps to communicate with the family and reconnect them. We take the safety and responsibility of transporting all of our guests seriously and are conducting an internal investigation. We apologize to the family for this experience."

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The statement was less than satisfying for Ramos, who noted that it was Casper's call to Ramos that solved the mystery about which airport he landed and not the carrier.

"Why are you lying?" Ramos said about the Spirit statement. "For me to find out where was my son -- my grandson was, he had to call me."

Ramos said Spirit Airlines eventually called her daughter, Casper's mother, about the mix up, but continued to leave her in the dark.

"All I need is for them to give me a call and tell me, listen, we made a mistake," Ramos said.

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